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The aim of this manual is to enable the reader to diagnose the causes of engine bearing failure through visual inspection of the bearings. Depending upon the type of failure detected, recommendations are then given as to how to remedy the specific cause of damage. One has to keep in mind here that, in addition to ascertaining the appearance of damaged bearings, accurate diagnosis will necessarily call for further information both on the other components involved and on the precise operating conditions. A summary of the most common causes of bearing failure is provided below, although some failures will inevitably result from a combination of more than one cause.
1 -- DIRT
DIRT IN THE LUBRICATION SYSTEM DIRT ON BEARING BACK
2 -- OIL STARVATION MALFUNCTION IN THE LUBRICATION SYSTEM OIL SEAL FAILURE 3 -- MISASSEMBLY BEARING REVERSED REVERSED CON-ROD OR BEARING CAPS LOCATING LUGS NOT NESTED 4 -- IMPROPER MACHINING OF COMPONENTS. IMPROPERLY GROUND HOUSING (FACETED OR POLYGONAL) FILLET RIDE OUT-OF-SHAPE JOURNAL: HOUR-GLASS SHAPED, BARREL SHAPED OR TAPERED MISALIGNMENT OF SHAFT AND HOUSING INSUFFICIENT CRUSH 5 -- OVERLOADING 6 -- CORROSION 7 -- CAVITATION
While other causes of bearing failure do exist, they tend to occur less frequently and are therefore not listed here. In case of doubt, kindly contact our Product Engineering Department (Departamento de Ingeniería de Producto).
DIRT DIRT IN THE LUBRICATION SYSTEM The presence of dirt particles entrained in the lubrication system is one of the most frequent causes of bearing damage.1 -. ensure that the entire lubrication system is carefully cleaned . the bearing will exhibit a correspondingly lesser or greater degree of circumferential scratching and. The root of the problem is usually that the engine is not sufficiently clean. In line with the nature and size of the foreign particles. Recommendation: when repairing the engine. usually. any debris that may have become embedded in the lining.
where there will be evidence of marked localized wear. are carefully cleaned prior to assembly. with the ensuing risk of contact between this protruding high-spot and the journal.DIRT DIRT ON BEARING BACK The presence of a foreign particle trapped between the bearing back and its housing will lead to a raised area. . Recommendation: ensure that all housings in which bearings are to be seated.1 -. Signs of this will be seen in the area opposite the particle. along the inner surface of the bearing.
an oil pump malfunction. whereby the amount of oil reaching the journal-bearing system is insufficient to maintain the oil film.INSUFFICIENT LUBRICATION MALFUNCTION IN THE LUBRICATION SYSTEM A total absence of lubrication of the journal-bearing system leads to bearing seizure and. However an altogether more frequent phenomenon is fatigue due to oil starvation. leading to metal-to-metal contact between the two parts. which may be a blocked oil passage.2 -. etc. normally. to total destruction of the part. . Prolonged operation under such conditions will also result in total destruction of the whole. Recommendation: the lubrication system must be thoroughly checked in order to pinpoint the cause of failure. an improperly installed bearing.
only exhibit shiny areas. the failure of the crankshaft seal led to oil escaping at this point The track of the pair of bearing shells nearest the seal exhibits symptoms of seizure. Recommendation: check for possible loss of oil at the seals and replace these wherever necessary. The circumferential oil groove acted as a barrier to the defect. .INSUFFICIENT LUBRICATION OIL SEAL FAILURE In the example shown in the photograph. as well as the two remaining pairs in the set. due to the oil film rupturing as a result of loss of oil pressure. so that the other track of the bearing shells.2 -. a sign of oil starvation.
in a case where the upper and lower seats of a pair of main bearing shells are inadvertently switched. As a consequence.g. Recommendation: ensure that the utmost precaution is taken during the installation of new bearings and that the correct positioning of each is doublechecked . eventually leading to seizure of the bearing in question. no lubrication can reach the crankpin via such oil holes. From the bearing back. it will be evident that the oil passage hole has been blocked off..3 -. this effectively prevents that particular main journal receiving lubrication.MISASSEMBLY BEARING REVERSED Where a bearing having no oil hole is mistakenly fitted in a position in which it ought to have one. e.
MISASSEMBLY OTHER ASSEMBLY ERRORS When engines are being repaired. the following assembly errors tend to occur fairly often.3 -. Recommendation: ensure that each and every engine component is correctly installed. There will be areas where lubrication may be insufficient. REVERSED CON-ROD OR BEARING CAPS LOCATING LUGS NOT NESTED . with evidence of excessive localized wear.
This defect can lead to metal fatigue. IMPROPERLY GROUND HOUSING (FACETED OR POLYGONAL) Where a housing bore becomes flawed due to engine vibration or some other cause that gives rise to marked out-of-roundness.IMPROPER MACHINING OF COMPONENTS. the bearing will tend to conform to the defective shape of its housing. It will display alternating bands of heavy and normal wear.4 -. Recommendation: check for correct grinding of shaft and housing .
4 -.IMPROPER MACHINING OF COMPONENTS. and will also hinder oil flow. Recommendation: use a grindstone in perfect condition to achieve correct crankshaft geometry . with its edge rounded from rubbing against the fillet. In the photograph. FILLET RIDE If the radius of the fillet is increased during the course of a repair to the crankpin. the bearing exhibits signs of incipient damage. the edge of the bearing may make metal-to-metal contact with the fillet.
by extension. This means that the clearances and. Recommendation: use a grindstone in perfect condition to achieve correct crankshaft geometry .IMPROPER MACHINING OF COMPONENTS.4 -. the crankshaft will conform to its errors of shape. the load distribution will not be the same throughout the bearing surface. thereby accelerating bearing wear in the most highly loaded regions due to uneven and inadequate lubrication. Visible in the figure is a damaged bearing that has been mounted on a partially tapered journal. barrel shaped or tapered. Journals can be found with areas that are partially hourglass shaped. OUT-OF-SHAPE JOURNAL: HOUR-GLASS SHAPED. BARREL SHAPED OR TAPERED If the grindstone suffers from excessive wear.
These defects result in localized wear. such as improper machining. etc.4 -. MISALIGNMENT OF SHAFT AND HOUSING There are a number of causes that give rise to misalignment of the crankshaft and cylinder-block housings. bent crankshaft. distorted cylinder block.IMPROPER MACHINING OF COMPONENTS. which tends to be greatest on some of the main bearings and less pronounced on others. Recommendation: ensure that cylinder-block and crankshaft machining tolerances are in accordance with the engine manufacturer’s specifications .
IMPROPER MACHINING OF COMPONENTS.4 -. If crush is insufficient. . discolorations or stains may appear. evidence of burnt oil that has worked its way into the space between the two surfaces. INSUFFICIENT CRUSH Total contact between the bearing back and housing is fundamental to ensure good heat transfer and a correct seating of the part. Recommendation: ensure that the size of the housing bore and torquing are in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations. the bearing will move back and forth within the housing and shiny areas will be visible on the bearing back due to friction with the housing. On other occasions.
this leads to damage due to metal fatigue Recommendation: check that the assembly clearances and bearing material are as specified for the application in question. Similarly.OVERLOADING Where operating conditions cause excessive load to be exerted upon the bearings.5 -. ensure that engine-tuning conditions are respected .
6 – CORROSION Oil in poor condition can damage the bearing surface. Recommendation: always use the oil recommended by the manufacturer. This effect is due to dilution of the lead in the alloy by certain of the compounds produced by oil degradation. and perform the scheduled oil changes as indicated in the vehicle maintenance manual. .
7 -. such as oil grooves or holes. . flow rate and type.CAVITATION Under certain operating conditions. such as oil pressure. that are affected by discontinuities in the oil flow. producing vapour bubbles that cause damage to the bearing surface. oil pressure drops locally. This damage will be evident in certain bearing areas. Recommendation: check that lubrication conditions. are as stipulated by the vehicle manufacturer.
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